We can officially stop using the world "frontrunner" when talking about Mitt Romney -- the surging Newt Gingrich has trounced him in the latest national poll of Republican presidential candidates.
In the Gallup poll released on Tuesday, Gingrich leads the pack with 37% of the vote, the highest total a GOP candidate has received thus far this year. Romney is second at 22%.
Gingrich is clearly benefiting from Herman Cain's exit from the race. In the poll in early November, Cain and Romney were tied with 22%, with Gingrich at 13%. In mid-November Gingrich actually had a slim 22%-21% lead over Romney, while Cain dropped to 16%. Almost all of that 16% has now been transferred to Gingrich, with Romney holding steady.
All of the other candidates are in the single digits.
Gallup says this has been a crazy year for the GOP:
The 2012 GOP nomination contest stands as one of the most topsy-turvy for the Republicans in the primary-nominating era. Not since 1964, when the nominations were still decided at the conventions, has Gallup seen more movement in nomination preferences... Republicans more typically settle early in the contest on a dominant front-runner who ends up winning the nomination.